Safwan: Fighting Fanaticism
Why do people become fanatics?
On this subject Ikeda states: “…the belief that people should serve religion leads to fanaticism” (My Dear Friends in America, page 152). In a further explanation Ikeda describes the fanatics as having “unstable and unconfident state of mind… Fanatic people are characterised by their refusal to enter into dialogue. Discussion is impossible for fanatics. If they were to earnestly discuss contested issues, their repression of their own questions would become untenable”.
The Difference between Faith and Fanaticism
Faith is revealed in behavior. Correct faith would increase one’s maturity and capacity to embrace others :“In Buddhism, faith means a pure heart, a flexible spirit and an open mind". Obviously, an attitude of arrogance and self-righteousness would disable openhearted dialogue, while “Correct faith, however, can be cultivated only in the kind of atmosphere where anything at all may be openly discussed.” (My Dear Friends, p.153)
M.Rogow: Who are they kidding? No one is more adverse to dialogue where anything at all may be openly discussed than SGI members. Unless there is a unanimity of thought and a consensus rapidly achieved, the dialogue is quickly terminated.
Safwan: Is SGI philosophy “the only correct teaching” among all others?
In his letters, Nichiren mentioned various non-Buddhist sages and philosophers whose humanistic views were based on the happiness and security of ordinary people: “...the wisdom of such men contained at heart the wisdom of Buddhism” WND 1122
M. Rogow: Safwan fails to take Nichiren's guidance to heart:
"Now in this latter, evil age, great evil arises less from secular wrongdoing than in connection with the doctrines of the religious world. When people today, who are unaware of this, endeavor to cultivate roots of good, events that lead to the ruin of the world occur all the more. Although superficially it may seem to be an act of good to provide support to the priests of the Tendai, True Word, and other schools of the present age, in reality it is a great evil surpassing even the five cardinal sins and the ten evil acts.
For this reason, in order that peace reign in the age, if a wise man existed in the world with wisdom like that of the World-Honored One of Great Enlightenment, and if he met with a worthy ruler like King Sen’yo; and if together they devoted themselves to putting an end to these acts of good and committed the great evil of censuring, banishing, cutting off alms to, or even beheading those persons of the eight schools who are thought to be men of wisdom, then the age may be pacified to some extent." -- The Kalpa of Decrease
Josei Toda proclaimed that anyone who would use nuclear weapons should be put to death.
Does Safwan and SGI believe that Nichiren would have changed his thinking in the twenty-first century? He could not be corrupted then and would not be corrupted now.
Safwan: On this subject, P Ikeda comments:
“Nichiren Daishonin writes that some people come to a correct view of life through systems of thoughts and philosophies other than Buddhism.
M. Rogow: According to the time. Before, in the Former Day, there were only the Vedas in India and ostensibly only Taoism and Confucianism in China. The people could reach Enlightenment by practicing these teachings. In the Former and Middle Days, before the time of the widespread propagation of the Lotus Sutra, the people could attain Enlightenment through the provisional Buddhist teachings. Nichiren explains that they could only do so thanks to practicing the Lotus Sutra in previous lifetimes. Today, in the Latter Age Age, people can only attain Enlightenment through the Lotus Sutra.
Safwan: One who encounters the Lotus Sutra but is prejudiced and does not try to comprehend its true greatness is inferior, he asserts, to the wise men and saints of non-Buddhist teachings. He also writes “When one knows the Lotus Sutra, one understands the meaning of all worldly affairs”. The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra Vol 1. p 55
M. Rogow: Those who encounter the Lotus Sutra but who reject it or who fail to comprehend its greatness are still superior to the wise men and saints of the non-Buddhist teachings because they form a relationship with the Sutra and are sure to attain Buddhahood.
"The heart (meaning) of the text is: For those who originally had good [karmic] roots and who should obtain understanding within the present lifetime one should directly preach the Hokekyo. However, if among them there are still capacities who hear yet are likely to slander, one should temporarily prepare them with the Provisional Sutras and afterwards preach the Hokekyo. Those who originally have not had the good [karmic] roots of the Great [Vehicle], even now they are not going to believe the Hokekyo and for whatever reason are going to fall to the Evil Ways [of Rebirth] so just forcibly preach the Hokekyo and cause them to slander and also make them form a rebellious condition. According to this commentary, in the Latter Age those without good [karmic roots] are many; those having good [karmic roots] are few. Therefore there is no doubt they will fall to the Evil Ways [of Rebirth]. We should all the same forcibly preach and cause them to hear the Hokekyo and they should form the condition of the poison drum, should they not? So there are none who contest that this is the season for preaching the Hokekyo that they may form the condition of blasphemy, is it not?” (STN, v. 1, 204-205)
"If the sutra that one embraces is superior to all other sutras, then the person who can uphold its teachings must likewise surpass other people. That is why the Lotus Sutra states, “A person who can accept and uphold this sutra is likewise foremost among all living beings.” There is no question about these golden words of the great sage. And yet people fail to understand this principle or to examine the matter, but instead seek worldly reputation or give way to suspicion and prejudice, thus forming the basis for falling into hell."
Safwan: Nichiren’s impartiality and broadmindedness is clear in his statement that:
“Even before the advent of the Buddha, some Brahmans in India realized the correct view of life through the four Vedas. In China before the arrival of Buddhism, some realized the correct view through Taoism and Confucianism.
M. Rogow: See above, "according to the time". Not in this Latter Age. Nichiren teaches:
M. Rogow: See above, "according to the time". Not in this Latter Age. Nichiren teaches:
"Question: As I understand it, a teacher is someone who has grasped the central meaning of the sutras and treatises and who writes commentaries explaining them. If that is so, then it is only natural that the teachers of the various schools should each formulate doctrines according to their own understanding, and on that basis write their commentaries, establish principles, and dedicate themselves to the attainment of enlightenment. How could such efforts be in vain? To insist that the Lotus Sutra alone holds the position of absolute superiority is to adopt too narrow a view, I believe.
Answer: If you think that to proclaim the absolute superiority of the Lotus Sutra is to take too narrow a view, then one would have to conclude that no one in the world was more narrow-minded than Shakyamuni Buddha. I am afraid you are greatly mistaken in this matter..."
Safwan: SGI philosophy acknowledges the humanistic values of various teachings. In fact, all beliefs emerge as people’s perceptions of the ultimate reality of life, Myohorengekyo, each viewing its essence through particular perspective. Nichiren quotes from the Nirvana Sutra: “All of the non-Buddhist scriptures and writings in society are themselves Buddhist teachings, not non-Buddhist teachings” WND 222 and “All phenomena are manifestations of the Law” WND 403.
M.Rogow. Of course Safwan fails to place the Opening of the Eyes teaching of Confucianism, Taoism, and Brahmanism in context. Perhaps I can help him: http://markrogow.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-opening-of-eyes-confucianism.html
In Conversations Between a Sage and an Unenlightened Man we read:
“These various sutras expound partial truths such as ‘the mind itself is the Buddha, and the Buddha is none other than the mind.’ The Zen followers have allowed themselves to be led astray by one or two such sentences and phrases, failing to inquire whether they represent the Mahayana or the Hinayana, the provisional teachings or the true teaching, the doctrines that reveal the truth or the doctrines that conceal it. They merely advance the principle of nonduality without understanding the principle of duality, and commit an act of great arrogance, claiming that they themselves are equal to the Buddha. They are following in the tracks of the Great Arrogant Brahman of India and imitating the old ways of the Meditation Master San-chieh of China. But we should recall that the Great Arrogant Brahman, while still alive, fell into the hell of incessant suffering, and that San-chieh, after he died, turned into a huge snake. How frightful, how frightful indeed!"
Safwan: It is quiet common to find references in SGI literature to the work or statements of non-Buddhist scholars. Many successful individuals in the field of culture or science, did not follow Nichiren Buddhism and did not chant the daimoku in order to arrive at their achievements. They did, however, devote their efforts in the correct direction, obviously making the proper causes which led to their beneficial results. In practical sense, successful individuals world wide did follow the Law of Cause and Effect – in terms of their causes and efforts - without specifically practicing Buddhism. The essence of this truth is poetically explained in Nichiren’s remarkable statement:
“Just as flowers open up and bear fruit…
just as a lamp becomes brighter when oil is added,
and just as plants and trees flourish with rain,
so will human beings never fail to prosper when they make good causes”.
This statement clearly shows Nichiren’s open-mindedness: he did not exclusively mention “my disciples…will prosper” but all “human beings…will prosper”, expressing the impartial character of the Law of Cause and Effect, encompassing all humanity and the environment. It is also remarkable that Nichiren takes examples from the natural environment such as “plants and trees flourish with rain” to indicate that it is natural for any person - regardless of religion - to prosper if the correct causes are made.
M. Rogow: You and SGI will destroy Nichiren's Lotus Sutra teachings in no time. You are worse than disingenuous. He was writing to one of his staunchest disciples, Nanjo Tokimitsu whose "good cause" was offerings to the Votary of the Sutra and chanting Namu Myoho renge kyo. There is one great reason the Buddhas make their advent,
"The sutras expounded prior to the Lotus Sutra cannot lead to Buddhahood because they are provisional and expedient teachings that separate reality and wisdom. The Lotus Sutra, however, unites the two as a single entity. The sutra says that the Buddhas open the door of Buddha wisdom to all living beings, show it, cause them to awaken to it, and induce them to enter its path. By realizing this Buddha wisdom, one attains Buddhahood."
It is Mappo, the time of strife, when and where Anger, Avarice, and Stupidity abound. No Buddha no Buddhahood, no Myoho renge kyo no Buddhahood. Certainly Ikeda's sycophantic pals do not a gaggle of Buddhas make.
Safwan: In order to remove the barriers of religious exclusiveness, Ikeda suggests a focus on the aspect of “humanity” in relations - shared by all people:
“Being based on the people is the same as being based on humanity. This focus on the welfare of humanity shines with a brilliance that transcends sectarianism and distinction of priesthood and laity. What can I - an ordinary human being - do for others, for society? This is the spirit of the Lotus Sutra.” The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra P.56
M. Rogow: Safwan and SGI change the very nature of Nichiren's teachings, regarding the exclusive faith and practice of the Lotus Sutra. Is Safwan not an extremely evil man? Is SGI not an extremely evil organization?